Common Expressions of Ecological Ways of Living

from the book Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin.

Page 32-35

"Because simplicity has as much to do with each person's purpose in living as it does with his or her standard of living, it follows that there is no single, 'right and true' way to live more ecologically and compassionately.

Although there is no dogmatic formula for simpler living, there is a general pattern of behaviour and attitudes that is often associated with this approach to living. Those choosing a simper life:

  • Tend to invest time and energy freed up by simpler living in activities with their partner, children and friends (walking, making music together, sharing a meal, camping, etc.), or volunteering to help others, or getting involved in civic affairs to improve the life of the community.

  • Tend to work on developing the full spectrum of their potentials: physical (running, biking, hiking, etc.), emotional (learning the skills of intimacy and sharing feelings in important relationships), mental (engaging in lifelong learning by reading, taking classes, etc.), and spiritual (learning to move through life with a quiet mind and compassionate heart).

  • Tend to feel an intimate connection with the earth and a reverential concern for nature. In knowing that the ecology of the earth is a part of our extended "body," people tend to act in ways that express great care for its well-being.
  • Tend to feel a compassionate concern for the world's poor: a simpler life fosters a sense of kinship with people around the world and thus concern for social justice and equity in the use of the world's resources.
  • Tend to lower their overall level of personal consumption - buy less clothing (with more attention to what is functional, durable, aesthetic, and less concern with passing fads, fashions, and seasonal styles), buy less jewellery and other forms of personal ornamentation, by fewer cosmetic products and observe holidays in a less commercialized manner.
  • Tend to alter their patterns of consumption in favor of products that are durable, easy to repair, non-polluting in their manufacture and use, energy-efficient, functional and aesthetic.
  • Tend to shift their diets away from highly processed foods, meat, and sugar toward foods that are more natural, healthy, simple, and appropriate for sustaining the inhabitants of a small planet.
  • Tend to reduce undue clutter and complexity in their personal lives by giving away or selling those possessions that are seldom used and could be used productively by others (clothing, books, furniture, appliances, tools, etc.) Tend to use their consumption politically by boycotting goods and services of companies whose actions or policies they consider unethical.
  • Tend to recycle metal, glass, and paper and to cut back on consumption of items that are wasteful of non-renewable resources. Tend to pursue a livelihood that directly contributes to the well-being of the world and enables a person to use more fully his or her creative capacities in ways that are fulfilling.
  • Tend to develop personal skills that contribute to greater self-reliance and reduce dependence upon experts to handle life's ordinary demands (for example, basic carpentry, plumbing, appliance, repair, gardening, crafts, etc.)
  • Tend to prefer smaller-scale, more human-sized living and working environments that foster a sense of community, face-to-face contact, and mutual caring.
  • Tend to alter male-female roles in favor of non-sexist patterns of relationship.
  • Tend to appreciate the simplicity of nonverbal forms of communication - the eloquence of silence, hugging and touching, the language of the eyes.
  • Tend to participate in holistic health-care practices that emphasize preventative medicine and the healing powers of the body when assisted by the mind.
  • Tend to involve themselves with compassionate causes, such as protecting rain forests and saving animals from extinction, and tend to use non-violent means in their efforts.
  • Tend to change transportation modes in favour of public transportation, car-pooling, smaller and more fuel-efficient autos, living closer to work, riding a bike and walking.

Because there is a tendency to emphasis the external changes that characterize simpler living, it is important to reiterate that this approach to life is intended to integrate both inner and outer aspects of existence into a satisfying and purposeful whole."

Quaker Meetings

Crossroads Friends - Monthly meeting in various locations in Michigan. Information and resource website updated regularly.

Quakers Online Community - an online gathering hoping to provide fellowship to isolated friends and those looking to expand their relationships. Complete with chatroom, membership profiles, mailboxes etc.

Quaker writing
quaker info

Quaker Heritage Press aims to restore and make available early historical Quaker writings that have gone out of print.

The Conservative Friend - An Unofficial Outreach of Ohio Yearly Meeting of Friends.

Christian Quaker - a great resource for anyone interested in Conservative Christian Quakerism.

quaker mission

Conservative Quakers of America - upholding the beliefs and traditions and the Religious Society of Friends. Promoting events of Ohio Yearly Meeting.

cool websites

Quaker is the New Punk! - "Renegade Quaker", Jim Heil's, quakerblog site. The rules have all changed.

The Rosewater Foundation - a charity supporting the continuation and development of Online Communities.

Gypsy Bees - Quaker family run business provides raw local honeys, pure beeswax candles, herbal-based holistic skin care products, and hand-crafted items from our Amish neighbors. Front-door, Farmer's Market, internet, and mail-order sales.

More Links